In this two part series, founder and CEO of the Unity Coalition for Israel, Esther Levens, interviews Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, a leading Israeli consultant to members of Israel’s Cabinet and Knesset. He regularly briefs US legislators and their staff on Israel’s contribution to vital US interests, on the root causes of international terrorism and on other issues of bilateral concern. Part two will be presented Monday, April 16th. Additionally, we will release a video of the interview later in the week.
Esther Levens, CEO and Founder, Unity Coalition for Israel:
The Unity Coalition for Israel has long been a fan of the work of Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger. He is an author and columnist and has served as Ambassador and Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington D.C. He is an internationally respected insider on US-Israel relations, mideast politics and overseas investments in Israel’s high tech arena.
CEO and Founder of the Unity Coalition for Israel spoke with Ambassador Ettinger on the wisdom of US investments in Israel which return many more times the monetary and security value to the United States than US taxpayers pay out. Following is a transcript of the Ambassador expounding on the topic which presents Israel in a most positive light not often seen in the mainstream media.
Ambassador (Ret.) Yoram Ettinger:
Thank you. I view it as a privilege to communicate with the Unity Coalition for Israel in general, but especially with Esther Levens who I’ve known for many years and highly respected and admired for your contribution for enhanced US-Israel relations. You have made a difference for which I’m grateful.
When it comes to US – Israel relations, there is the reality of conventional wisdom on one hand and the state of affairs on the other hand. The conventional wisdom is that the US extends foreign aid to Israel, which is absolutely not the case.
Certainly, the Jewish state is not foreign to the United States which, when established by the founding fathers, viewed themselves as the people of the modern day covenant and they followed in the footsteps of the early Pilgrims who considered the newly found land to be the modern day promised land.
So the Jewish state is not foreign to the American ethos, to American history, American morality.
Keeping to this ethos, Israel is not an entity that is looking for “aid.” We have been partners of the US and, admittedly, a very much junior partner, to the senior partner, the US. But the significance of the reality of US-Israel relations is that we are not talking about a one-way street where the United States give and Israel receives, but, increasingly, it is a two-way street, mutually beneficial to the US and to Israel.
In fact, Israel has transformed itself into a very unique producer of national security for the US unlike other state recipients of foreign aid who are simply consumers of national security. Unlike other nations, Israel is not a burden on the US budget or US economy but, rather, has been a very resourceful contributing asset to the US budget and economy.
I will share examples of this from my personal experience.
A number of years ago, I paid a visit to the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, which manufactures the F-16 combat plane and also recently started producing the F-35 combat plane. The plant manager who took me around introduced me to a small team and referred to them as the “Ace” of the plant. I asked him, why are they the “Ace?” And he said, “Well, this is an Israeli team composed of Israeli Air Force men and they are here 24-7. And their duty is to receive feedback from the Israeli Air Force as far as the F-16 (and, now, the F-35) used by the Israeli Air Force. And the feedback has to do with operation, maintenance and repairs and that feedback enhances the future generation of the F-16 and F-35.”
I asked the plant manager how many upgrades of the current generation of the F-16 are attributed to the feedback from the Israeli Air Force and the response was well over 600 moderations or upgrades! And he gave me examples:
50% of the cockpits are the result of the Israeli input.
75% of the firing control – another outcome of the Israeli feedback.
And, in fact, this (Israeli) work has been the most unique aspect of that laboratory of the US defense industry. When I asked the plant manager if he could quantify those 600-plus upgrades resulting from the Israeli feedback in terms of American dollars his response was, and I quote, “A Mega-Billion-Dollar Bonanza” to the manufacturer. I can assume, logically, that similar benefits are accrued by the manufacturer of the F-15, which we fly in Israel, manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, and, once again, every day they receive Israeli feedback.
There are hundreds, if not over one thousand, American military systems employed by Israel and each one benefits from, what I call, services of that unique battle-tested laboratory otherwise known as Israel.
I even visited to the office of one of the Congressmen from Tennessee of the Chattanooga district and he told me that, in his district, there is a Northrup Grumman plant which manufactures special robots identifying explosives. A few years ago Israel decided that that robot would be best for Israel in its day-to-day battle against Arab terrorists – their car bombs and improvised explosive devices (I.E.D.s), etc. – and the Congressman told me, in the aftermath of the Israeli decision to buy that robot, there was a huge benefit to his district and the Northrup Grumman plant there because the impact of the Israeli decision was identical to the impact of a triple-A store joining a newly-constructed shopping mall. Once a triple-A store joins the shopping mall, more and more stores wish to come into the fold and more and more customers come to frequent the stores in the mall. He gave me examples of the benefits saying that every other week there is a telephone conference between the manufacturers and the users in Israel. The users provide feedback to the manufacturers in Northrup Grumman and that is equivalent, according to the Congressman, to between 10 and 15 years of research and development which is provided free of charge by Israel. And that benefit of Israeli feedback has enhanced the competitiveness of that particular robot in the global competition. It further increased exports out of Chattanooga district and has obviously expanded the employment base of that district in Tennessee.
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This concludes part one of our interview with Ambassador Yoram Ettinger.
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